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Our new website is coming along just fine.  Take a look at it and let us know what you think.
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Molly Freudenberg's profile photoPhil Buckley's profile photoLeo Croes's profile photoMartin W. Smith's profile photo
9 comments
 
Leo,
Here are my quick thoughts:

1. Less copy above your main Call To Action (Request A Quote). Achieve this by using a <read more> tease that pops down the 2nd paragraph for those who want to read it (tag this so you know how many click that read more, it won't be many). 

2. Tad on the red side for me. Red creates energy and attentiveness,
but a little goes a LONG way. I would chill this by at least half. 

3. Instead of Request a Free Quote on the second CTA above the form I would ask people to join your list for free carpet care and flooring tips. You can use the same form, but stressing the free quote more than once reduces its power and creates a sense of desperation. 

4. FAMILY OWNED, FAMILY RUN since X and testimonials. Your Unique Selling Proposition is WHO YOU ARE. You and everyone in your company CARES and that is so unique in your space (lol). Since you battle franchise owners, my 30 years of marketing says share the fact that you are all in, an ex-marine and have people like me that will only trust my carpet and flooring needs to you. The TRUST I have in you, your brother, daughter and company isn't hitting me as I look at this page and it should. You can say factual things such as how long in business and your values (the why you created your company), but I (your customer) must fill in everything else via testimonials. This means you need about 5 testimonials stressing: quality of work, value of work, TRUST and care, speediness and value of dealing with an owner who has ethics and cares. Many miss the point of testimonials and have several making the same point. Sometimes I do it that way, but mostly I look to have each testimonial tell a different story, to highlight a different aspect of your business.  

5. PEOPLE not things sell. I love your company because of how you treat my things like they are yours and for the amazing service your whole family has given to make MY life possible. I think a picture of you and the family on that home page somewhere is critical. CRITICAL. 

6. Specials for armed forces - I would create a special for anyone who is now or has ever served. Your family has GIVEN and I know you want to give more. By creating a call out for those still serving or your fellow ex-soldiers you reinforce your core brand and remind me that your served while I typed on computers (not that what I did wasn't important, but what you did for US was more important). 

7. User Generated Content (UGC) - you want your site to be a gallery of OPF and OPC (Other People's Floors and Other People's Carpets). When you complete a job ask if you can take and post a picture. Create a contest asking for people to share their dream floor pictures (we all have them btw) and get wisdom of crowds to VOTE on what is on your site. These actions move your site from static pages to alive content that you don't have to write or create (why UGC is the most magical kind of content). 

Add a "Gallery" where potential customers can look at pictures from existing customers. If this is going to cost too much from a programming perspective, use Flickr and wrap it so it looks like it is inside your site. Flickr is a great cheap way to test the concept, just make sure it is tagged so you can know how much traffic went there and came back. 

8. TESTIMONIALS and more TESTIMONIALS and REVIEWS, curate the things I've written about you and compliments from others to add WEIGHT and authenticity to your words. You can and should write about your VALUES and vision for your company. Let me and other customers write about how much those values translate into TRUST, CLEAN CARPETS and MAGICAL FLOORS. 

9. VIDEO - You are a straight shooting guy and that is what I like about you. You exist in a business vertical that can border on the sleazy. Create a 1 minute video on the creation of your company. I met a great videographer the other day (Ryan Shelly @barnapkins). If you need with the script let me know and I will do it on my time. 

10. Subscription - Even if you don't sell a single subscription, a package of 2 cleanings a year purchased in advance and billed automatically, having that feature could really set you apart. Having a subscription offering means you get that TIME is your customer's most valued asset not saving 5% on carpet cleaning. The challenge again is money. Adding a subscription option needs a cart and a way to spit the details into your billing systems. There is bound to be a CHEAP way to get that done. I have a friend who almost specializes in stuff like this. Let me know if you need an intro. 

I'm in for some minor surgery on Thursday, but if you want to meet next week let me know when. Hope these notes help. 
Marty 

PS. I don't know if Atlantic BT is doing this new site for you or someone else. It really doesn't matter to me either way. You have my help anytime you need it. Least I can do :).M 
 
+Phil Buckley +Mark Traphagen +Eric Garrison +Brian McDonald +Michael Marchetta +Red Maxwell Hey guys. Leo is a great former marine who served us well. He has a carpet cleaning and flooring business here in Raleigh. You guys are some of the BEST Internet marketers I know. Leo is looking for feedback on his new website.

I tossed in my two cents (you know me), and know you are all crazy busy, but if you have ten minutes or so to look over Leo's site and my notes (only because they tell you where I think the real brand is for Leo and his family) and add your thoughts you would be helping someone who has helped us in his service, life and family (they are all involved in the business). 

Leo, I know a LOT of Internet marketers and the people I've copied in here are amount the best in the world. They are also among the most generous people on the planet too. I keep thinking someday they will tell me ENOUGH when I ask for MORE. Hasn't happened yet and I doubt it will because these guys ROCK. 
 
+Leo Croes  I honestly think +Martin W. Smith  covered it very well. It's a great site but could be even greater with the tweaks he suggests. May I make a few suggestions about your blog (i.e., your content marketing)?

First of all, kudos to you for being a local business that even has and maintains a blog. Sure you don't post that often, and it could be nice if you could, but just by having some fresh, relevant, search-friendly content on your site you're ahead of much of the competition.

Content like this is most effective when it is used less for direct selling and more for establishing your authority in your field and building your brand. It is also useful to help build your presence in search engines, if the content is relevant and useful. You want to create the kind of content that people will want to link to ("Need to know what kind of flooring to choose? Click here for a great guide....") and share with their friends. Speaking of which, one of the first things I would do would be to add social sharing buttons to your posts. A service like ShareThis makes that easy to do. Having links from real sites combined with people sharing your stuff on social media are two good signs to search engines that they should rank you highly. That's the heavy lifting your blog content should do.

I wouldn't start out posts by mentioning your business right away. Save that for the end, if at all. You want to grab people from the first sentence with the impression that this is going to be truly useful to them. The content should go right at answering some question that would be common among people looking for your service, so that when you scratch that itch, they are going to think favorably toward you when it comes time to get flooring installed.
 
Agree with Marty and Mark! I'll add a few more things...When you think about what needs to be on a page, remember that the majority of people will not scroll, so make sure you prioritize the top 2 actions you want them to take and the top 2 questions they would want answered at the top of the page/site.
For example, I would guess customers would come to your site because they are looking for a company that cleans carpets or installs flooring and they want some verification that you are reputable. Your site needs to visually answer 'What do you do' and 'Why should I trust you' then immediately direct them into the sales process - it's great to have lots of information on the site, but don't make it too easy to get distracted - you want to get them in touch with a sales person.

Here are some changes to the site header/home page that might help achieve that:
Header
(Answer 'What do you do' and 'Why should I trust you')
Simplify the logo at the top and add "Carpet Cleaning, Flooring Installation" in text just under the logo. On the upper right side,  add text that says "Serving Raleigh, Durham, and North Carolina for more than 20 years."  That text answers the customer's questions and helps you optimize for your biggest SEO words (without researching I would guess they would be things like 'Carpet Cleaning Raleigh NC,' or 'Flooring Installation Durham'.)
Also add a graphic that looks like a badge with some kind of guarantee. This graphic should be click-able and open a new window explaining your guarantee and how they can hire you risk-free.
If you are well-reviewed on sites like Angie's List or even Yelp or if you have won awards - call that out too. I like the phone number at the top of the page.
Home Page
(More trust-building and on to the sales process)
The home page slider and pictures should be customer pictures and testimonials on the left side, and your full "Request a Quote" form (including the services they are interested in) on the right with a check box that lets them automatically sign up for your updates/newsletter.

The internal pages of the site and blog are great for building a relationship with customers and keeping the conversation going, and the sidebar widget sign up form keeps requesting a quote the priority if they happened to come to one of those internal pages from a search engine.
 
Hi Leo,

I agree with most of what has already been said. The question I always ask is "what am I suppose to do when I land on your site?" From that simple question it seems that my option is to request a free quote - for me, that CTA is too strong. I am not ready to be sold anything yet - although you don't think of it as an arm twisting, 3rd degree sales pitch, that's what the average person on the web sees it as.

I don't think you need an entire page for your specials since they're on the homepage. 

Break apart the two trust signals in the right rail. Your "Save" message and your "100% satisfaction" message need to be differentiated.

Maybe instead of the first button being a sell button, you could have something like - see why people love us, and that's where you work in the testimonials and videos. 

In fact, since I believe no one will actually read all the text you have to the right of the photo, you might as well use that space to make a bigger statement with the photos. Close-up and beautiful shots of your finished work.

+Molly Fisher is right when she says your first hurdle is trust and your current homepage isn't hitting that hard enough.

Your meta description for your homepage is constructed wrong. Use that as an opportunity to convince a searcher to click, not to restate what your title already says. Perhaps something like: Carpet cleaning and flooring installation by the most trusted guys in town.

I also agree that some of the more "stock" looking photos should be replaced with your own handsome mug and possibly some of your workers as well.

I don't trust your testimonials. I don't trust any testimonials that are on a site where I'm unable to add one. I also don't trust them because I know you've had clients who were unhappy with your work - it's just life.

Beyond that, you should make up those testimonials with the schema.org review data so Google will show them under your listing.

I would also link out to Yelp or Google or wherever else you have reviews to let people know you're not afraid to have them check you out - having two 5 star reviews on Yelp helps :-)

As much as I love my friends at Thee Design, get that link off the bottom of your site. Mind you, this may just be me, I also make car dealers take their advertising off my car.
 
Thanks for all of the suggestions.  It's obviously a huge undertaking, from me down to my kids and we appreciate all the feedback.
 
Good luck Leo and you are right. Creating anything that matters, anything capable of cutting through the clutter of NOISE online today, is a massive undertaking.

You have great input from some of the best Internet marketers I know. Collectively people who've provided input have made almost $100M online. Even that level of experience isn't a guarantee of anything given all the changes being wrought by mobile, social and scaled networks such as Facebook and Amazon.

The key to any B2C play is testimonials (not a bad thing to have for B2B websites either). Anytime you need me to write more about the experience of working with you and your family I will be glad to do so. I need to replace the carpet in my upstairs and you will be the only person I trust to do the job.

Good luck with creating a website that is half as special as your company.

Marty
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